(KTEN) — Bryan County EMS director Brian Norton said he fought on the floor of the Oklahoma Senate for a bill to help the state's emergency medical personnel gain parity with police and firefighters.

The Senate passed House Bill 1805, which will establish a pension and increase retirement benefits for qualifying medical personnel.

"We started dealing with the senators and representatives, and finally — four years later — we finally got our retirement pill passed," Norton said.

Before this law, the years of service plus the age of emergency medical personnel employed by the state had to equal 90 or more in order to retire.

"Police and fire had a 20-year retirement, and EMS — we had to work until we were about 65 years old in order to reach retirement age," Norton said.

Under the new law, EMS personnel are designated hazardous duty members of the retirement system, and can also retire after 20 years of service.

"We can offer a career now to somebody," Norton said. "Typically right now in EMS, five to seven years and people move on. But this will allow somebody that — if you're 18 years old, you can stay here until you're 38. You can have a pension, you have a set income, and then you can go on."

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill into law on April 23, and it will take effect on November 1.

"It's going to allow us to keep our employees a lot longer than we used to, and that will bring more experience to the table when we provide patient care in the community, and — of course — to future generations of EMS," Norton said.

The Bryan County EMS chief was one of five ems directors that fought for this bill on the senate floor.